A Papakura family who were getting sick in an "undrained swamp" house have found a new home.

Dawn Robbie, partner Cameron Taylor, and their two young daughters, aged 3 and 11 months, had been living the past 22 months in a cold, damp and mouldy home that flooded underneath each time it rained, which they said had been making them sick.

Eleven-month-old Atamarie had only just been in hospital for bronchitis, the third time this winter, thought to be caused by the damp living conditions.

But after taking their case public and forcing their landlord to take action, the family have found a new home.


Robbie said they had secured a private rental on Friday and would be moving in next Sunday.

Manurewa-Papakura Ward councillor Daniel Newman, who had been advocating on the family's behalf, had assisted in finding them a new place, Robbie said.

"It is a four-bedroom home. It is warm, dry, has a heat pump - it is pretty amazing. After all we have been through it is like a weight is off our shoulders."

The new home, in the same suburb of Papakura, would cost the family $600 a week, $80 more than their previous home that was riddled with mould, and flooded underneath every time it rained.

Atamarie's doctor said in a letter they knew "damp cold living conditions increase the likelihood and severity of breathing problems in infants".

Robbie said it was a relief to have found a new place to live, which would also let them keep their dog.

"We didn't want to return to the same home that was making us sick. The doctor said there was a risk of Atamarie getting sick again if she went back into the same environment."

Atamarie had fully recovered, Robbie said, and now they would be in a new warm and dry home for her first birthday next week.


Robbie said their landlord Aven Raj had refused to fix the flooding and dampness issues, after insisting they would be fixed when the family moved in, in January 2017.

After taking their case public at the end of August, Auckland Council issued an insanitary notice on the property on August 31, giving Raj 10 days to resolve the drainage, dampness and mould issues.

Under the insanitary notice, Raj faced a maximum fine of $200,000 plus $20,000 each day the issues remained unresolved.

The council lifted the notice after repairs were completed, but on September 4 Robbie and the family were given a 90-day notice to vacate the property.

Ray White Papatoetoe manager John McCracken, who began managing the property only after the insanitary notice was issued, said the vacate notice was issued because of further major remedial works.

The notice to vacate had been withdrawn so there was no time pressure on the family to find a new home.

"These tenants are good people, and had to endure some pretty substandard conditions," McCracken said.

Robbie said the whole process had made them more aware of the tenancy laws.

"There are good landlords, and there are bad landlords, but at the end of the day, landlords are renting out properties that renters call their homes. Any tenant is able to stand up and demand their rights. If they don't, nothing will change."

She urged other renters to learn about their rights and document any issues they have in their rental properties. If their landlord refused to fix the problem, they should go to the Tenancy Tribunal.

"There are laws in place for a reason."

Robbie said she and Taylor were hoping to buy their own place one day, but in the meantime were happy to live somewhere warm and dry.

"We are really happy to have come through this."

Tenancy Services - part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment - was taking a case to the Tenancy Tribunal against the landlord on the family's behalf.